I’ve found myself giving advice to others about expectations. “Don’t plan a party with the expectation that everyone on the guest list will show up, on time, with no disruptions to a perfect evening.” Something always happens…and that’s okay.
But why, when it comes to my life, do I STILL expect things to go so smoothly every day? I don’t leave any room for mistakes to happen or a kid to get sick or an oven to stop working or a tire to be flat or the internet to stop working (first world problems I know).
I’m getting better about not holding myself and others to unrealistic expectations. The best thing I learned in an Al-Anon meeting was there isn’t one single person who will be everything you will ever need. In other words, it’s not fair to expect my husband to be everything to me. Yes, he is my best friend. Yes, he is my rock. Yes, he is most things to me. But he cannot replace the women in my life with whom I have my “girl talk” convos. He cannot be my mother when I need help with a cooking question. He cannot be my best girlfriend when I’m trying to remember the name of a friend who went to school with us.
The point is, expectations are crap! They can help us in certain situations (meeting our goals, disciplining our children, having a guideline for how our day should be going), but they shouldn’t be the end all be all. “If every thing on my expectations listed doesn’t happen, then I’m a failure.” I know this thought has popped into my head numerous times!
Take a look at the expectations you hold yourself to and give yourself a little grace. Create some margin in your life for the unexpected.
Sometimes when my day doesn’t completely go as planned, those are the days I remember the most. Maybe one of my kids wanted to play a board game and I couldn’t say no. Maybe I stopped at more red lights than usual, but heard a song on the radio that reminded me of growing up with my brothers. Maybe dinner was ruined and my husband jumped at the chance to buy frozen pizzas.
I know all of these seem silly, but letting go of expectations transforms our thoughts. It is like we can breathe again! Come up for some fresh air! Don’t let your own expectations drag you back down!